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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2000
    The Republic of Pirates



    Thursday, December 22, 2016

    Handstops have been in existence in the shooting world for years. They have been used as the name implies - for short weapons, placed in a way to prevent the hand moving forward of the muzzle, or as barricade points to hold against cover while shooting.

    I put one on my Mk18/Commando, intending to use it as a hand stop. Now I have been fencing Epee for a while now and I immediately saw some parallels in the feel of these "hand stops" with the pistol grip on my Leon Paul Epee.

    The epee pistol grip (otherwise known as the anatomical or orthopedic grip) was originally developed for a 19th century Italian fencing master, L.Visconti. Visconti had lost some fingers in some sort of mishap, and had the grip designed to enhance the leverage of those he had left. This grip has become popular among sports fencers in the late twentieth century because of the way it enhances a fencer's lateral strength for the parry (block), complements the agility and athleticism of competitors.

    In high-level fencing, pistol grips are used by a large percentage of epee fencers because they allow stronger and more precise blade movements.

    The existing thought on using the VFGs and such is to cam the hand onto the forearm (Magpul AFG), or to use it for pressure (VFG). This concept involes the fingers and the hand. As you recall, the Weaver was into arm pressure, and eventually as Americans became stronger and bigger, everyone realized the best control began in the hands...making the arm position almost irrelevant. These act as index points and pressure points and are more analogous to a competitor's thumbs forward grip than to a VFG/AFG deal. Think finger pressure.

    On the rifle, strategically placed for each shooter on the handguard, they allow a similar "feel" to the Epee pistol grip. By using the thumb and index finger on these pressure points (a better and more descriptive term given how I use them), one can keep the muzzle on target, or move it from target to target a little faster and with a little more certainty. Your mileage may vary of course, but I have found them to be a great addition to any carbine or rifle intended for use in fast CQB situations.

    Getting the muzzle on target has to do with the hand position. For is easier to get the muzzle pointed with the fingers of the support hand pointing forward than it is by grasping a VFG in a beer can grip. That was part of the concept behind the Magpul AFG. In this case, we discovered that by finger pressure, one can drive the muzzle onto the target with a greater feel for where it is going and with a greater degree of control.

    The point is this. The same system that helps an Epee fencer get the point on target accurately allows the shooter to get the muzzle on target accurately. And it is in fact about getting the muzzle on target, not "getting the stock aligned".

    Think of the support hand like the spearman's front hand. The rear hand is the power hand, and the front hand is the leading accuracy hand. Same in this case. The front hand drives and steers the weapon's muzzle forward onto the target (the single most important thing to do), and the rear hand works the trigger.
    Gabe Suarez

    Turning Lambs into Lions Since 1995

    Suarez International USA Headquarters

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2008
    The Once Free State
    Hahaha and I thought I was the only person using a handstop as a "front trigger" hold. I started by accident when I transitioned from right side to a left side shooting position. My right index finger wrapped around the handstop by accident and I liked it. YES it felt like my epee grip. I use a large Russian Grip on my epee. (The Russian is just a fat version of the "orthopedic" grip. I think it was originally intended to be big so the user could modify it for a personal fit???).

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2010

    Great write up Gabe. You explained in words what I discovered in action a while back...I ditched the VFG on the fighting carbine a while back, using a finger/thumb stop similar to your pic above...the index (booger) finger extended along the bores axis weak hand does indeed get me on target faster and more accurate than driving it around on a VFG. Adding one to my AR pistol and DMR/Recce soon.

    CRG-Suarez International Combat Pistol Instructor

    SIG SAUER CERTIFIED ARMORER M400, 516, 716, M4, AR15, M16

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Atlanta ITP


    Definitely support hand stops. I prefer the small little guys vs a larger VFGs. I use the little guy and locate the stop between my index finger and middle finger on my support hand with my thumb over the top of the hand guard.

    On my "SBR", the TLR toggle is right on my thumb so it's easy on top to manipulate it. On my carbine / recce, it's at a similar distance so that I can have the same grip. I have the same hand guard on all M4 platforms.

    Last edited by Paper Shredder; 12-22-2016 at 09:15 PM.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Great write up. Makes perfect sense as usual. The more naturally we can point the more accurate we can be, and fingers help our brains point.

    It helps justify for me the "hand forward" position I was taught when first starting to shoot shotguns at moving targets that helps with pointing and swinging.

    I never got into the off hand back on the mag position. It did not seem natural for a long gun; did not enhance accuracy or control for me. I also didn't like having my hand right at the mag well as it is a place where kabooms are likely to hurt you.
    "... men and women of your armed forces America having signed a blank check to the protection of the American people and to the defense of our constitution, a check payable with their very lives, your military stands ready and confident to defend this country, this experiment in democracy. Secretary of Defense James Mattis, 9/11/17

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Back when the VFG's were starting to become fashionable, I started cutting them off to a stub.
    Never liked the forward grip outside a Thompson, but keeping my hand in
    a consistent spot helped with accuracy and speed.

    When I dumped the forward rails, I dropped the stops also. Too much junk out front.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Great write-up, just in time for me. I am trying to figure out what hand stop to put on my 300 blackout pistol. What is the grip with the groove in the picture above. Looks like a great grip.
    I have come hear to chew bubble gum and kick ass, and I am all out of bubble gum.

    I'll be your huckleberry. Doc Holiday

    Boards don't punch back. Bruce Lee

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